Beware of the brutality represented in Spielberg's unconventional blockbuster "Saving Private Ryan". You cannot help but get a lump in your throat towards the end of the film

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Introduction

Beware of the brutality represented in Spielberg's unconventional blockbuster "Saving Private Ryan". You cannot help but get a lump in your throat towards the end of the film. The traditional "war is hell" message is surpassed for a deeper and more personal battle of the petrified rookie interpreter Corporal Upham (Jeremy Davies). Against everything the war stands for he makes his turning point with his first and only gunshot into the head of a German soldier. The irony is that the very same soldier had pleaded for his freedom and much to Upham's relief, been freed by his more experienced American comrades, earlier in the film a decision made in compassion which has deadly repercussions. The opening sequence reveals 20 minutes of carnage and ultimate destruction.

Middle

Tangible sound effects also build on the compelling realism. Sound is muffled as we go underwater but there is the constant dirge of rattling gunfire and explosives through out the whole battle scene. The only time this is set apart is when the cameras zoom onto captain Miller (Tom Hanks). Spielberg uses his gradual close up onto the eyes and sound is dulled. This effect can show how Miller's ears are suffering from the loud bombs exploding all around him, but it also allows a moment of rest and reflection on the severity of the situation. The gallant company has to rescue the stubborn private James Ryan and send him back home to his mother in Iowa.

Conclusion

The focus on American soldiers shown in the film could have potentially have been a turn off for British audiences but the outshining quality of the film means this can be for the most part, overlooked. From the very start we see images of the American flag, which convey the strong emotions of pride associated with war films. This scene at the war graves in France provides a curiosity through out the film and also quite an inventive transition from present to the past. Another emotional slow zoom into what we learn are Private Ryan's eyes is just one of the reasons this is a must see film. Saving Private Ryan is a brilliant piece of cinematography and a worthy dedication.

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